The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding the public on Kaua‘i to keep their pet dogs under control due to the recent killing of 8 Laysan albatrosses on the north shore by two dogs.
Five other birds survived that initial attack and were taken to the Kaua‘i Humane Society for treatment and rehabilitation. One of the injured birds eventually succumbed to its injuries. Two rehabilitated birds were recently taken to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge where they are receiving daily care and feeding.
Seabird volunteers and DLNR are diligently working to capture the loose dogs and locate their owner. Information fliers are being disseminated through the community to inform them of the incident and to remind people to properly restrain the pets and to call the DLNR conservation hotline at 634-DLNR.
“Kaua‘i’s north shore is an outstanding area for the recovery of native seabirds such as the Laysan albatross. Pet owners are as responsible as their pets for these senseless killings,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR chairperson.
“Each year, seabirds are killed by dogs and cats because they retain their natural instincts to kill. This is why it is important for everyone to play their part to protect wildlife. “We ask the public to please keep your pets leashed while on walks, and kenneled or fenced at home. Please prevent your pets from roaming freely, especially near coastal areas where seabirds are known to nest on the ground,” Aila said.
In the late afternoon on Friday, June 22, seabird volunteer Kim Rogers, a wildlife monitor, discovered the dead and injured albatross and contacted DLNR – Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement to rescue the injured birds and search for the loose dogs.
The following day, another Laysan albatross chick and three wedge-tailed shearwaters were found dead on adjacent private property. Based on decomposition of these birds, the killing may also have happened the same day as the first incident.
One of the property managers has patched a gap in a fence between his and the adjacent property to keep the dogs from entering the nesting area. Live capture traps from DLNR, USFWS and the Kaua‘i Humane Society are being deployed around the nesting areas and monitored by volunteers.
A photo of one of the two dogs seen on the property near a chick has been distributed to neighbors to aid in identification. It is hoped that these steps will help to make this nesting area as safe as possible for future nests and chicks.
Seabirds are protected by both federal and state laws and violators may be subject to criminal petty misdemeanor fines under HRS Ch. 183D-62 for a first conviction of not less than $200 and/or imprisonment of not more than one year. In addition, violators could face civil administrative penalties for first violation of a fine up to $10,000 and an administrative fine of up to $5,000 for each specimen of wildlife taken, killed, injured or damaged.
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